I don't want to go into specifics, but those of you who are published authors will understand when I say that this business is not for wimps.
I hike a lot with my family, and it reminds me of the hikes that have steep hills to climb and as you go along, you wonder if there will be anything up ahead that will make the hard work worth it. You tell yourself to enjoy the here and now, to not focus on what's ahead, but that's easier said than done sometimes, especially when the hill just goes on and on and on. You wonder if it will ever end. You sit down, take a rest, and it's then when it's easy to become discouraged.
You wonder if you should just give up and go home. You start to feel like maybe you don't belong. Like maybe only the best hikers belong here, and you are certainly not one of the best.
There have been a few times over the past twelve months where I've felt pretty discouraged. One disappointment can be hard, but when you have a string of them, it can be especially so. And yes, once or twice, I was so discouraged, I thought about giving up. But I kept telling myself it's always darkest before dawn. And sitting on the couch, feeling sorry for myself, wasn't really going to solve anything.
I also kept telling myself that maybe things happen for a reason and maybe I just needed to trust that everything would work out in the end, if I just hung in there. I've certainly seen it happen before. Right after I quit my full-time job a few years ago, I had a full manuscript rejected along with some proposals, and I seriously began to think I had just made the biggest mistake of my life.
And then, inspired by P!nk's "Glitter in the Air," I wrote THE DAY BEFORE. That book saved me. Those characters, Amber and Cade, and their magical day at the beach, became my escape from all of my worries. Every day, when I opened that document, I got to escape to the beach too. I have never loved writing a book as much as I loved writing that one, because it was exactly what I needed at the time.
So this time, I reminded myself of Cade and Amber and THE DAY BEFORE, and I told myself what I needed to do was to find a story I cared about. Characters who could help me escape the worry and heartache, and let me be me, in the best way possible.
So I kept writing.
Seven or eight months ago, I felt like this:
Now, I pretty much feel like this:
|taken 4/28/13 at Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm|
So, in case there is anyone out there right now who is in that dark, discouraging place, I just want to say - hang in there. This business is HARD. The set-backs and disappointments can get inside your head and mess with your confidence in the worst way.
I know. I understand. I have been there, more than once.
Find a story only you can tell. Create characters you can fall in love with. Don't worry about whether others will love the story. That's not the most important thing when things are looking dark - the most important thing is that YOU love the story.
Find a story and let it save you.